Tuesday, 3 June 2008

More on kneeling...and knees!

Although I occasionally do a quick look around the websites of some dioceses, I usually abstain from that of Brisbane on the basis that it might be an occasion of sin. Coo-ees from the Cloister , however, are made of sterner stuff, and have delivered unto us the latest atrocity from our northern friends, in the form of claim from liturgist Mrs Harrington that:

"It was only in the Middle Ages, when the faithful ceased to participate actively in the Mass, that the German custom of kneeling was introduced into the Roman liturgy".

The Coo-ees' response is to quote a large chunk from the Pope's book The Spirit of the Liturgy, which points to the Biblical origins of the practice. You can read it over there!

My suggestion, however, is that Mrs Harrington needs to read the following article from Stuff Catholics Like:

"...Catholics like knees. More importantly, Catholics like being on their knees. It’s a sign of respect, humility, and in some rare cases, the opposite of humility, “God, I thank you that I am not like that politician…”.

Men have at times been known to compare their knees to find out who is holier: the man with less hair on his knees is almost always on them more, and therefore holier. In a contest of this sort a man is almost always disqualified if it is ascertained that his knees are naturally hairless. The only other option is to compare the callouses on the knees, which most contestants prefer not to use since it’s a better indication of the terrain that they kneel on, rather than the amount of time they spend kneeling on that terrain.

Over the course of the centuries, different kneeling and genuflecting postures have been accepted by the Church in order to distinguish between different levels of authority. When greeting God, for example, Catholics are encouraged to genuflect on their right knee. If God is visible, it is recommended to double-genuflect, which is getting on both knees, and then making a profound bow. This is the highest act of respect that knees can offer. The left knee is generally reserved for the bishops of the Church, and a formal greeting to one of these means genuflecting on your left knee while you kiss the bishop’s ring.

There isn’t an official knee-posture to assume when greeting a priest, but this is generally understood to be so simply because there isn’t another knee that maintains a position left of the left knee. If one has a great deal of respect for a particular priest, it is accepted that he can kneel before the priest to receive a blessing, but these blessings are usually received standing in this day-and-age.

So, if you want people to think that you’re “holier than thou”, just walk out of Church rubbing your knees. They’ll either despise you for being holier than they are, or they’ll think that there’s something wrong with you. They almost never suspect that you’re pretending...."


David said...

Arrrrgh! Mrs Elizabeth Harrington, the Official unwashed tye-died Gaia-worshipper of the Diocese That Can't Even Baptize Validly!

I long for the days when Catholic women were like this:


I loved it when Archbishop Hart slapped her down in front of the Melbourne Council of Priests, quoting Fr Z's "Say the Black, Do the Red":


He refers to her writings as containing "outdated 70's proposition[s]".

By the look of Mrs Harrington's photograph at the Cooee site, she was decidedly stale and mouldering away by around, say, the end of the Pontificate of Paul VI in 1978.
"She's so Spirit Vatican II, and like, that's so, last century, man; get with it, man, be groovy!" Someone needs to tell her that the Age of Aquarius is over, and the New Tridentine age started on 07/07/07.

Terra said...

Love the shooting nuns, David,they may becomea regular feature....

Felix said...

I realise that accuracy is a pre-conciliar virtue, but ...

From St Jerome writing about St James (both of whom preceded the Middle Ages):

"(he) went alone into the temple and prayed in behalf of the people, insomuch that his knees were reputed to have acquired the hardness of camels' knees."